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Are you covered? 


I recently read an article which stated that hiring managers never read cover letters.  Um…I have no idea who wrote this article, but they were apparently talking to the wrong hiring managers.  A cover letter is a recruiter’s best friend because it summarizes (if written properly) how the information contained in the resume is relevant to the position sought, how the candidates presents themselves, and a tiny glimpse of how they communicate and follow directions.  Here are a few tips for making your cover letter into an attention-grabber.

  • Don’t be shy- Your first sentence needs to launch right into telling the recruiter why you are the ideal candidate for the job.  For example; “Eight years of experience as a Major Account Manager with a can-do attitude and a proven track record are just some of the skills I would bring to the position of Senior Account Manager.”  This sentence has loads more punch than starting out with the predictable and bland, “With regards to the position I saw listed on your website…”
  • Find a proofreader- Have someone else proofread your cover letter; you’ve probably been so focused on it you will not see errors.  Generally speaking, once a recruiter sees a typo or a grammatical error, they stop reading.
  • Tailor each letter- It’s a great idea to create a few different templates for yourself, but do NOT send out cover letters that you have not tailored to the specific qualifications, position and company you are sending it to.  Your letter must be personalized, and by showing you’ve taken the time to customize your letter to the position you seek, you’re showing that you’re truly interested in this job, not just sending out a huge generic broadcast.
  • Follow directions- One of my pet peeves as a recruiter was receiving cover letters that did not address the specific information requested in the posting.  If you can’t even follow directions in trying to get the job, why on earth would I give you the job?? Make it very clear where you are including the information they asked for by starting a paragraph with, “With regards to your stated requirements…” so the recruiter can go straight to that section and find what they need to see.  The easier you make it for the recruiter, the better the chances you have of being put in that ‘Yes’ pile.
  • Draw parallels- This is the whole point of sending a cover letter; drawing parallels between your work experience and the requirements of the position you seek.  Refer to several of the stated requirements and site examples from positions you’ve held where the responsibility/skills/technical knowledge was the same and comment on a relevant accomplishment.  For example; “I met and exceed your requirement of 5 years of leadership experience. An example of my expertise in this area was in my last position at XYZ Corp where I designed and deployed a very successful  partnering program which matched senior sales team members with the junior  team members to increase teamwork and foster mentoring relationships. The gross revenues for the team as a whole increased by 18% within the first 6 months of this effort.”  Be careful though; you can easily get carried away with describing your relevant experience so keep your examples to 2 or 3 stellar accomplishments.